Advertising Your Podcast on Spotify 101

January 11, 2021

At Quill we use Spotify advertising for the vast majority of our clients. We love it for a variety of reasons but the main one is that you’re advertising to users that are already on their preferred listening platform. When it comes to advertising on the Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagrams of the world, you’re asking users to discover the podcast and then click off of social media into a listening platform to tune in. 

That’s a pretty big ask. 

Overall we’ve found that advertising a podcast on social media tends to be good for awareness but Spotify tends to be better for both awareness and actual clicks. Spotify ads show up on free accounts only though, and you may be thinking, don’t the vast majority of people have a premium account at this point? Yes, many people do, but there are still over 155 million free accounts that you can be advertising to. 

One thing that I will quickly note about podcast advertising in general is that it’s not really possible to track clicks to downloads (yes, annoying). So while Spotify tracks clicks for you, you then have to monitor how your downloads fluctuate during the periods you’re running ads. 

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into creating your Spotify Ad: 

1. Setting Up Your Ads Account 

To begin, you need to make a Spotify Ads account in Spotify Ad Studio. This is pretty self-explanatory, just head over to Spotify Ad Studio and click “Start Now”. 

2. Creating Your Ad

Now we get into the creative part. Time to bring your ad to life! 

Spotify Ads can be a maximum of 30 seconds in length so you have to capture listener attention and get your message out there quickly. This is usually the formula that we follow when creating ad scripts for our clients:

Spotify Ad Script Formula

  1. Thought-Provoking Statement: Write something shocking or a statement/question that your target audience can immediately relate to. This is to catch a listener’s attention.
  2. The Host: Introduce the host(s) of the podcast.
  3. About the Show: In just one or two short sentences write out what the podcast is about. Who will you be talking to? What value will listeners get from the show? 
  4. When to Listen: Finally, write when listeners can tune into new episodes. 
  5. CTA: Since you’re advertising on Spotify you can’t really say “listen on Apple”, so have your CTA be something like, “listen on Spotify”. 

And that’s it! Once you’re done with your script, time yourself reading through it so you have an idea of how long it’ll be when you decide to record. 

Recording & Editing

Once your script is good to go it’s time to record! At Quill, we record and edit all of our ads in-house, and you’re more than welcome to do the same. If you already have your podcast setup, it’s pretty easy to get your ad recorded and edited. 

But, if you don’t have the resources or capabilities to record and edit your ad, Spotify has a tool in Spotify Ad Studio that does it all for you. Basically you feed them your script and the background music you’d like, and then professional voice actors will record the ad. They’ll also cover the mixing and mastering of the ad once it’s recorded. 

3. Launching Your Ad

Now it’s time to share your ad with the world!

Creating Your Campaign

From your dashboard in Spotify Ad Studio, you’ll be asked to create your campaign. Within your campaign, you’ll have ad groups (similar to Google Ads). You can set your ad groups as different items -- maybe by episode, or based on your targeting parameters. It’s all up to you. 

Budget

Spotify has a minimum of $250 USD that you need to set for a campaign. From here you can increase the budget however you want. We usually recommend having our clients start with the $250 budget and increase based on performance, since at the end of the day, Spotify Ads aren’t going to work for every single podcast out there. 

Targeting 

Once you reach this step you need to start considering who exactly your audience is and who you want to be targeting. 

Spotify Ad Studio lets you target based on: 

  1. Age 
  2. Gender
  3. Location 
  4. Interests: a full list of the interests that you can target are linked above. If you’re advertising a podcast, we recommend always checking “Podcasts” as an interest on top of the more targeted options. This makes sure that within your interest targeting, you’re focusing on individuals who listen to podcasts as well. 
  5. Real-Time Context: when do you want users to hear your ad? When they’re in the car? Working out? Maybe relaxing or cooking? You can target that! Pretty cool, right?
  6. Genre: we love this feature since you can target users based off of the music that they listen to. If you have a series that is intertwined with a specific musical culture, you can tap into that. 
  7. Fan Base: if there’s a certain fan base that you want to target for your series then you can also target for that. For example, if you have a podcast with a Lizzo appreciation episode, you can directly target Lizzo fans. 

Once you’re done with targeting, approve the ad and send it out to the world! You’ll receive a confirmation email once Spotify has approved your ad. 

Measuring Your Spotify Ads  

Once your ad is approved and running, it’s important to regularly check in and analyze performance. Spotify reporting allows you to do just that.

Spotify provides you with information including:

  • Impressions 
  • Reach 
  • Frequency
  • Completion Rate
  • Clicks
  • CTR
  • % of ads played to XX%
  • Age 
  • Gender 
  • Location 
  • Device 

You can also export and download some of the metrics you gather from Spotify. If you navigate to your ad set, there’s an arrow next to “download data” within the ad set’s report tab. This function allows you to export your ads information! 

Launching Spotify Ads 

And that's it! Pretty easy, right?  

If you have any questions about launching your Spotify Ad or bringing your podcast to life, get in touch with us here!


Platform
Price
Pro’s
Con's
Anchor

Free

  • Easy to use
  • Automatically distributes your podcast to major platforms.
  • Embed media player.
  • Great if podcasting is a
    side hobby
  • Very basic editing
  • Since it’s a free tool, you don’t have full control over the monetization of your podcast.
  • Not the right platform for people taking podcasting seriously
Buzzsprout

Free for 2 hours of content per month

$12 for 3 hours per month

$18+ for 6 hours and up

  • Very user-friendly
  • Caters to both long term and beginner podcasters
  • Advanced analytics
  • Easy distribution of your episodes
  • They measure their size requirements to hours not megabytes
  • Bonus: get a free $20 Amazon gift card when you sign up for any paid hosting plan!
  • Advanced features like dynamic ad insertion need some work
Libsyn

$5/month for Monthly Storage 50mb

  • Oldest podcast hosting site.
  • Easy distribution to major platforms and great for scaling once your podcast gets bigger.
  • Hosted over 35,000 podcasts.
  • An iTunes Podcast partner.
  • Allows you to publish your podcast to specific directories.
  • Embed media player.
  • Price is based on storage
  • 50mb storage for $5 won’t be enough if you are publishing weekly so you’ll end up with a higher price point
Podbean

Unlimited audio package: $9/month

Storage space:

Unlimited

  • Great support & customer service features
  • Unlimited audio.
  • Pages are easy to customize
  • Can schedule podcast release dates.
  • Easy to use.
  • Uploads and changes to podcast titles and/or descriptions are automatic to Spotify.
  • Embed media player.
  • Simple Analytics
  • Analytics aren’t as advanced as other platforms
  • Upload and changes to podcast titles and/or descriptions take a day to change on iTunes.
  • Not an iTunes podcast partner.
  • The process to send a podcast to iTunes is more tedious. But, you will still be able to get on the platform.
Blubrry

Classic

$5/month

Monthly Storage

50mb

  • Podcast Wordpress plugin and management.
  • If you want to record a new introduction or conclusion, add in a sponsored ad or upload a new version of a podcast, it doesn't count towards your storage usage per month.
  • Blubrry allows a 25% storage overage each month
  • Prices are based on storage.
  • Usability is okay.
SimpleCast

Starting: $15/month

Recommendation: $35/month

Monthly Storage: Unlimited

  • Hosts your audio files no matter what the size!
  • Dynamic insertion for podcast ads or edits.
  • Incredibly detailed analytics including number of episodes completed and listener location tracking.
  • Embed media player.
  • Easy to use.
  • Great distribution! Easy access to all major podcast platforms.
  • Customizable podcast
    website.
  • Prices are slightly higher than other platforms, but well worth it especially if you have a branded company podcast!